Live Review: Frenzal Rhomb

Frenzal Cover

Frenzal Rhomb
Totally Unicorn, Flangipanis
The Triffid, Brisbane
Friday July 21

The bratty Sydney punks who never grew up, Frenzal Rhomb, visited Brisbane to plug their ninth studio album and first new release in six years, Hi-Vis High Tea.

Brisbane act and 4ZZZ Radio darlings Flangipanis kicked off the evening’s proceedings with a set of short, sharp and cheeky Aussie-flavoured punk.

Plugging new EP Sportsball, enigmatic singer-guitarist Jodie Lawlor and her bandmates run through a fun set including tunes such as ‘Noise Complaint’ and ‘My Period is Late’.

The three Flangipanis songs that topped the annual Triple Z Hot 100 countdown over the past four years – ‘Getting Shit For Free’, ‘Double Standards’ and ‘I’m Drunk, So What, Fuck You’ – also feature.

Totally Unicorn sounds like a cute name for a cute band but the Wollongong five-piece are anything but that.

That is unless you have a fondness for rotund, hirsute and near naked men bounding about in their underwear whilst delivering chaotic metalcore.

‘Unhinged’ is the word that best describes Totally Unicorn’s live act, singer Drew Gardner regularly thrashing about in the crowd to a cacophony of loud sounds that brings to mind acts such as Dillinger Escape Plan and Damaged.

Opening their set with ‘April 29 Brothers’, the Wollongong five-piece floor unsuspecting audience members with their brutal yet precise sound and seemingly limitless on-stage energy.

‘Let’s Spice Things Up With Lazer Swords’ and ‘Customer Service Station’ also feature, as do cuts from debut album Dream Life such as ‘You Smell Like a Trophy’ and ‘Space Congratulations’.

All members of one of Australia’s most beguiling bands, except the drummer, end the set playing their instruments in the crowd for closing tune, ‘Guts’.

Taking to the stage to the strains of Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is’, Frenzal Rhomb kick off their set in a packed venue with ‘Classic Pervert’, which singer Jason Whalley proclaims is about, “How the guy from Smith Street Band fucked a dog”.

Yes, 25 years into their career and the Sydney band, tonight dressed in orange Frenzal Rhomb-branded hi-vis jackets (the pick of merchandise desk items alongside Totally Unicorn tie-dye jocks) hasn’t changed its mischievous on-stage demeanour.

And the crowd loves them for it, moshing and singing along to cheeky and expletive-laden tunes such as ‘Russell Crowe’s Band’ and ‘You Can’t Move into My House’.

The band scours a vast back catalogue of albums for tunes, with old-school favourites ‘Punch in the Face’, ‘Never Had So Much Fun’ and ‘Mr. Charisma’ sitting alongside new Hi-Vis High Tea tunes such as ‘Pigworm’, ‘Storage Unit Pill Press’ and ‘I’m Shelving Stacks (As I’m Stacking Shelves)’.

Unexpectedly appearing in the set are ‘I Miss My Lung’ and ‘Ship of Beers’, dubbed, “One of a bunch of shit songs” from the Meet the Family album, and “love songs” ‘When My Baby Smiles at Me I Go to Rehab’ and ‘The Black Prince’, which Whalley explains he wrote for his wife “and she thought I was having an affair”.

While the usually solid interplay between guitarist Lindsay McDougall and bass player Tim Crease falls flat during a lacklustre version of ‘You Are Not My Friend’, songs likes ‘Bucket Bong’ and ‘Bird Attack’ find the beloved band tighter than many audience members remember.

Words by Lee Oliver
Behind the lens Gethin Hill

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